tv Earth Focus LINKTV August 17, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT
>> today, on "earth focus," western rivers--challenges and solutions. a look at films featuring the willamette river, the l.a. river, and the colorado. coming up, on "earth focus." in the u united states, we havae more than 3.5 millioion miles of rivers. tthat's enoughgh to circlele the globe 140 times. rivers s shape our landscapes,se home toto many spspecies, fill u glass, and even inspire filmmakers. >> if 're goioing to be a society y that uses rivers, anad leses along thhem, then n weo need to live in a more river-conscious way. >> seeing kids get so excited about the river is, uh, probably
ththe most graratifying eexperie that a filmmaker can have. >> they m may start o out pure,t polllution, urbaninization, , ad agriculture hahave degraded rivers. in hisis upcomining film, "willamette futures,jeremy monroe looks at how everyone, frfrom city-dweller r to farmers connected d in helpingng revitae oregon's willamitte river. >> the water starts out some of the purest water on earth. crystal clear, cold. >> > we have some of the e best wawater quality coming o out ofe ground i in the world. >> that's the type of water that we start withth in our heheadwaters. >> the question i is, as it goes downstream, what are we doing to that?
>> i guess the main n motivation for thihis film was to sosort of shine a a light on this movemem, this national movement to restore rivers. and we''re dodoing that throughe lens of f the willamamitte rive, in oregon. so, the willamitte river system is a big river syystem in westen oregon, and i think of it as oregon's big r river, because it really flows through our biggest cities and our richest farmland. i think in ororegon, and nationwide, therere's sstill a question in people's mind, "what--what's the value of a river?" and we've just gone through a couple of centuries of kind of disconnecting ourselves from rivers, and we're in the process of sort of getting back to that. so, my main motivation for this film was to really shine a light on what's really a national movement to reconnect to our rivers, and to begin to restore them. i hope that people will see in this filmlm, um, lotsts of exams
of how w you can n sort of ideny yoursrself asas livinin a a waterershed, and liviving in a community of people that are connected by water. the choices that we all make in our different parts of that watershed affect each and every person. >> a are sluckcky portltld to have the willamitte river. i mean, we're the bridge city. there are so many bridges, and people cross them to o go downtown, anand, um, i b bet a t of peop donon't t evelook d dn to s see that the river is even still there. now in portlaland, the willamite river has a realllly bad reputation, espspecially among young people, because all the things that they've heard about the river. "the river is really dirty, don't touch it, there's sewage in there." and what they don't rerealize is t the amount ofof k that's been done on thrriver, and the accomplishments that have been made in decreasing pollution. we're doing a great job, but obviously we're not done yet. it's not going to be fixed in 5 years, or 10 years, or 15 years. it't's a multigenerationl effort. you know, looking at it as a
community, and as a community of neighbors, um, nobody likes a bad neighbor. so, i thihink that knowing ththat, um, all of your neighbos are dodoing good thingngs for te river alalso encourages you to start doing good things for the river as well. i think that we're all interactg g withhe p peoe thatat we h here forere u we' i intertingng wh histsty, and 'relso inteteracting with the future of the river. >> that commununity of people tt are actively doing the w work right nowow to resttore the willamititte river are certainla minority, but, relative to most other places you'll go, it's a remamarkable amount of p peopled labor force, and time, effort, and money that's really going into this river system. in the 1990s, a measure was passed to dedicate some of thehe state's lolottery funds to watershed and salmon restoration, and that really became sort of a seed for all ththese grassroots-levevel organizations toto pop up in almost everyry medium oror even small sized watershed. there's a a paid group of people with a b bget doing g projects o
restore the river, to restore habitat, and that's not ssething youou find eveverywher. you wilill findatatershed groups all over r the country, butot as activend, um, i i gus rresourced as the organizationsns in oregon. >> we've bn n throh ovover hundred years s of removining wd out t of streamsms. it takes big measures to--to restore ththings thaat have chhd so much. large wood basically is a--is a roughness element in a ririver. it interrupts flow and creates hydraulic complexity. and when you get a hydraulic complexity, you get habitat complexity. you know, things like pools, side channels, gravel bars, eddies, backwater areas, and you need that complexity to support healthy, didiverse aquac
commununities. for this project, we used a a couple ofof different methods. we p pulled trees over, umum, wa yarder, big trees, those pieces kind of acting as an anchor piece. anand then we e would brg additional pieces in with a hellicopter to cree kikind of a log complex, or a log jam. this is all new gravel in here, and...a new red. walking up the channel, and seeing a red, a chinook red, you know, right below your--yoyour projectct wood, and knowowing that that gravelel was only there because you placed that wood is pretty special. >> ♪ 'cause i'm almost home i'm almost home i'm almost home
i'm almost home i'm almost home ♪ >> we valalue things most after we lose them. and i in a lot o of our ririverd eespecially a lot of o our big rivers, we've lost a lot. and so,o, the lastst couple of generarations, i thinkare e so of the first to really rrrry a consouousnesof, , "wcan desoy thing w we cadeststro ver systems." wh that consciousss is, i hope, d desirto want heaeal, and d want toakake amds t to thosose ver sysyems. as longs we s sll have lmon that wt to ce babackand asas long we havehose c crystal clear headwaters, we he sosort of chances to maktthing beter. those things haven't given up on us yet. the choices that we all make in our different parts of ththat wawatershed affect each h and ey peperson. and so, there's a generation growing up in oregon right now, and actually across the nation, that gets opportunities
to be part of these projects, that's going to have a different worldview. i think what's happening in oregon right now, and some of the things that we're highlighting in the film is really one model to start to get us back to a more river-conscious living. >> whwhile some rivers run wild, others, like the los angeles river, have been n heavily urbanized. revitalizing these rivers has proven challenging. in the film "rock the boat," a kayaker fights to show that even an urban river deserves protection, and can be restored.
>> we're here to defend the right of the people of los angeles to use their own river. [screeching] >> paris has the seine. londndon has tthe thamess. los angeles has the l.a. river. >> get out of the river now. >> there's a city ordinance that says you ain't supposed to o be inin the riverbed. >> i know, but-- >> including myself [indistinct] for not evenen being where they aare. so, i i want them all titicketed, e every one of them. >> you rang? aqua-taxi? come on in!
having come from the east coast, where i leaearned canoeing, and the northwest, where e i learned kayaking, there w was some strae attractioon toward the l.a. river, as kind of demented as i know that sounds. but i had a boat, and there's a 51-mile length of river, and i have this vision, i don't know why exactly, but i have this unreasonable vision to go from the beginning of the river to the end. i first got interested in the l.a. river a bit by accident in 2008. in the spring of 2 2008, there s a bit t of a controversysy thats brewing in l.a. at the time that cenrered around t this notn of navivigability, uh, as itt relates t to the cleaean water . >> the clean n water act t is supposed to protect navigable waters, and the question became,
was the l.a.a. river and its tributaries navigablble wate,, anand subject to the protection of the law? >> the stakes were very high. we're looking a at large portios of states t that could lose federal protection. >> in 2006, the supreme court, um, , in a split dececision,n, d that ffor a waterer of the u.s.o be protectcted under the clean water act, it had to be navigable, but they didn't specify what "navigable" means. should it be a tugboat, should it be a little paper boat? they didn't specify, so it left it up to t the enforcement agencies. so in 2008, the army corps of engineers did a study of whether the l.a. river was going to be navigable, in fact, or not. so, this created a huge uproar in the environmental community in the country, because everybody realized that this was going to be, um, a landmark deccision, and it was going to imctct the futurure of all the rivers, , and all ththe waters n the uniteted states.. at the same time, george wolfe
was planning to do this kind of tongue-in-cheek trip down the entire length of the l.a. river. so, he became a kind of pivotal questionon mark on whether this could b be decided d on a technhnicality, essentially. if he couould prove that the rivever'ss navigable, that wawal that it wawas going toto take.ut ititas a kind ofof absurd shot i the darark. >> maybe inin an houur or so frm now, people in kayaks s are goig to be setetting off downwn the s angeleles river, on a tripp supposed to promote the recreational use of the river, and also to prove that it cacane navigated. joining m me from the, uh, about-to-llaunch kayak centraras george wolfe, who is coordinator of the los angeles river expedition. what is the a appeal fofor you f the l.a. river? >> you know,w, water's such a fundamental t thing, and dear to us, and nenecearary fo alall of us. . and so, we feel e that we're just kind of, y you know, fighting this f fight for--for everybody, including e e armyorpsps, and the county, a and the city. >> 4 out the 52 miles are
designated as "traditional navigable waterway." but they'll tell you it's perfectly navigable. but you can't put a boat in it. >> 4 being... >> right, because it's an incompatible and unsafe activity, what you're doing. >> yeah, and didn't you love that phrhrasing? >> i think there's an, uhuh, innate appeal to this notion of, you know, fighting for whatt peopople reay y knows ththeirs. >> well, and here we are,, finally. ultimately, we hope that this trip willll raise consciousnesss about the l.a. river. even on the way here, i was stuck in traffic, and i was thinking "i can't wait to get to that river..." >> [laughing] >> "and get my feet in that beautiful water." >> on your marks. get set. >> go! >> i feel like it's--uh, it's
just crazy to keep people from their rivers. you kn, , no matter r the condition of the rivers, they deserve, uh, a figight for them, and, uh, if we have to take some of the brunt of that, then we're willing to do that. persrsonally, what i'd likike te in the future with t the l.a. rivever is, first of all, a river ere peoe are enged cleaning up the water, um,, reusing it in smart ways, having it be sustainable for l.a., so we e don't t have to kp stealing water from upstate, and the colorado, and all these other places where we're notorious s for taking our water from. ifif we can turn the l.a. river around, there's probably no river in the world that can't be turned around. it would be a a fantaicic rags-toto-riches ststory, and wd set a fafantastic prprecedent for what otherer people cocouldk to, and y, "hey, t they did this in l.a." >> we have major choices to make, or they're being made for us if don't participate, which is, where are billions and billions of dollars going to be spent t to bring us more wat? >> [chanting]g] we needd water!
we need waterer! >> california already is struggliling with drought emergencicies. >> is it going to be on buildidg dams bebelow the s sierras to capturure more water and d sendt here? whihich most science agrerees is not going to work anymore. we're losing the snowpack. another choice ththat's on the table is are we going to build billions of dodollars in de-sal plants? >> without water, we die. the way we're heaeaded in the mismananagement of it, the lackf appreciation of it is s settings up to fight for that resource. i always talk to my students, and i--and i g give them the examample, and i ask thehem, "ws a diamond expensive?" and, youounow, all the t time ty get it, it's expensive because it's rare. and we're headed that way, where water r is rare, and only ththoe who can a afford it will be able to a access it.. >> we had a s single purpose in mind when we built this prproje, and t that waas to moove the war as quickly as we could t to the oceean. >> we have a need for this water, and what do we do?
we water the pacific ocean with it. >> get this. in one inch of rainfall, los angeles throws away, sheds, 7.6 billion gallons of water. everery time it rains an inch. let me repeat that. 7.6 billion, with a "b," gallons of water run off, rush off to the storm drains to the river every time it rains an inch. that water that t we throw away, if we werere to capture it, mane our landscapes efficiently, it's enough to meet at least half our needs, possibly 60% or even 70% of our needs. >> uh, you know, we've got about a foot of water, so, that's just--just enough to comfortably float down here. >> our main goal now ththat the fililm is finished is to o enere cocommunities into t taking act. >> in 1938, there e was no sortf oversight to say, "how can we solve the water runoff,f, but
also k keep the steelhead inin the riveer? how do we build a channel that can be friendly to people, rather than just a conduit for runoff? so now we have a multi, multi, multimillion dollar challenge toto try and revitalize and restore t this river. >> the l.a. river is a perfect example of how we've built as much as we could harnessing the nature that was there, in ways that we felt suited our development and our industrializing mentality, and now we find ourselves in the 21st t century really needing tt nature, andnd longing for thahat nature, , and trying t to uncovt from all this modernization, and from all this cement that we loved so m much in the pastt century. and trying to reconcile
now our modern lifestyle and our modern society with what we've created out of our nature, and how do we start to bring that back. >> whether ththe different agencies and people involved cacan pull that t off is y yet o be seen, but thehere's a lot of f inertia in the l.a.a. community now about being able e to make good on thesese promises. you know, the army corps got paid a lot to put in all that concrete. you kknow, maybe theey'll make a busisiness out f restoring the r river, partrtlyo itss former formrm. totally a awesome. ohoh, my god. i started in cogan--whoa, i can't speak anymore! canoga park. that's a long way, man. that's two marathons. that is no easy thing. >> whoo! hey, we're here! [cheering] >> there it is, coming around the corner. >> > let's s go!
>> [cheering] [indndistinct chchatter] >> revitalalizing the l.a. river is increasingly important, as the colorado river may one day be unable to meet southern california's growing demand for water. the film "watershed" looks at efforts to save the colorado, and develop a new water ethic for the american west. >> it is said thatat nothing
dedefines a r region morere thaa body of water.. thisis is rticicularly true e ie american wewest. the colororado river, and the tributars s thatmakeke her basin, shaped the spirit of her settlers. "el rio colorado," the river colored red from the land s she flows through, made this dry land not only livable, but irresisistible to settle. even s still, her fafamed early exexplorer, , john weslsley pow, wawarned thatat combining arid d with civivilizatioon would eventtually leead to a c crisis. the relentleless march t towards prorogress led to the 1922 colorado river compact and other agagreements among 7 american and 2 mexican states to divvy up the water. it transfoformed one of the world's wildest rivers, cacapabe of creating grand cacanyons, and inland seas, into o the most dadammed, dibbed, and diverteed river basin in thehe world. machines supporting the needs of
30 million people. agriculture,e, industry, urban growth, mining, energy production, claw for their share. so mucuch so, thatat the mighthy colorado river of today rarely, if ever, reaches her delta in the gulf of califofornia with populations in the region expected to reach 50 million by 205050, tempereratures risiningd precipipitation patterns b becog more erraticic, demand will outpace supply unless we embbrace a new water eththic, oe that questions not only how we use wateter, but how it affects the world around us. >> "watersrshed" is a film thaht is really exploring a region o of the sosouthwest of america, the c colorado o river plplateau. and d it'ss looking a at everytg that relies on the flow of that river, everything from urban water use, to farming, to energy sosources, to o recreationon.
and whatat we do know ishatt there is an n approaching shorte coming.g. >> i had t the good fortrtune going down the colorado river in 202008. this is bebefore i kw anyththing about t the projececd i noticed on the ririver everyy night you had t to pull your r s up a and t thehem really t tigh. and i said "why do we have to do that? you kw, the r river is jujust the ririver, why--why dot chanange at nighght?" andd i came toto realize that ls vegas, the lightsts come on, thy release more water throughout the river. so, i gogot a sense that, "waiaa second, so o this is a--this isa man-made e machine, this increredible canynyon that we're in." and then, i think i realized shortly after that that the water in the river does not reach its end. anand that was--there wawas a cerrtain amount of outragege abt that. the mighty colorado river does not reach its end. it w was a story that i neneedeo tetell. >> to prevent disputes over water rights, the 1922 colorado river compact divvied up the river.
the proroblem was a allocatioioe based on an unusually wet period. average river flows were much less than assumed, so the compact promised more water than the river could deliver. due e to climatete change, t the bureau ofof reclamatition projes evenen greater s shortages b by. wiwith that, t the likelihood of even greater disputes. >> i beeve thate are in a period of clate chan.. um, other people say we're just in a sustained peririod of ariridity, but one thing g we do know is s there's not as much wwater in ththe southwt t rightw as there has been historicallll. and you can hear r that fromm scientiststs, and you can alalso hear i it fromavavajo elders, ,o tell stories that wewere passed down generation to generation. and you putt that on top of thte increased imctct of pulalation, and it's a a double whammy. >> 34 years om now, i think it could be bleak. i mean, there are things that could be done. the characters in the film do show us positive examples. i mean,n, i--i laughed with j j,
and the othther producers of the show, cacause they s said, "wewe want you to do a film on water, but we want it toto be a positie film." and i fifit signedp p for that,, i was likike, "sure, no problem" and then i realized how difficult that is. >> you can't really change thingss if peopopleren't aware e of what the issueue is. o the film, , in a sense, , is tool. it's just n not--we're not t gog to be able e to live ththe way e did in thehe 20th centntury in e west. it's simple. i mean,n, you know,w, and there's no reason to consider that alarmist t or negative. . it--it's s a realit, anand you can approach h it with crereativity,ikike these fofolks havve. >> o overalall goal of the filis to get to conneect the river to the sesea again. ththe greatest river in n the wt doesn't reach itits end righght. i perersonally am going to o fel much better knowining that that
river doeses reach the sea. >> > john wesley powell, , the s explorer of f the colorado o rir basasin, was coconvinced ofof oe thining, that the growowth of civilization would be contingent on e e sizend h health of t thee watersheds. with the corado river no longer reachining her delta, and greater demamand looming, perhas popowell wass right. by reshaping the historical compacts that burden u us, we cn exexplore newew frontiers of cooperation, conservation, and reuse. wewe can changnge how we produce food, create energy, and grow our cities to restore a mighty river's connection toto the sea. all the while e renewing our appreciation fofor a resource we have most certainly taken for granted.
elaine: an indigenous, isolated tribe living in the amazon jungle is starting to reach outside their secluded world. will it lead to better relations or more dangerous encounters with neighbors? i'm elaine reyes in washington, d.c., and this is "americas now." first upup, they livive hidden n peru's amamazon rainfororest but have r recently enterered sociey and creaead a hostile culture clash. man: what we don't know is maybe what other factors can be influencing this behavior. it could be some pressures in their teterritories. it could be some fights between some mashco piro groups. dan: men, women, and children.n. elaine: : correspondent dan collyns reports on p peru's